An unbearable stench?
July 15, 2003 5:20 AM   Subscribe

Cooked intel revolts spooks - Spooks revolt : elements of the US intelligence community are between outrage and open revolt, and Veterans for Intelligence Sanity, a group of ex - CIA professionals led by Ray McGovern, a 27 year veteran of the CIA who used to brief George Bush Sr., has called for Dick Cheney's resignation in an open letter to GW Bush, reports Nick Kristoff. "You may not realize the extent of the current ferment within the intelligence community and particularly the CIA" they have warned Mr. Bush. At the heart of the matter is the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans (OSP) under the leadership of Abram Shulsky. Meanwhile, "It's like, duh, the net doesn't forget. Get it?" : a blogger compiles a chronological list of Bush Administration statements on Iraq's WMD's - from "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." (George W. Bush Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003) to "They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer." (Donald Rumsfeld, Remarks to Council on Foreign Relations, May 27, 2003) and "U.S. officials never expected that "we were going to open garages and find" weapons of mass destruction. (Condoleeza Rice, Reuters Interview, May 12, 2003) Also in above link: scroll to bottom for memorandum to GW Bush.
posted by troutfishing (105 comments total)
 
Wow. On four hours sleep I'm not going to manage much better than that, but, still.

"The American people were manipulated," bluntly declares one person from the Defense Intelligence Agency who says he was privy to all the intelligence there on Iraq.

Bring it on, as Bush said.
posted by jokeefe at 6:32 AM on July 15, 2003


oooerg. the plot thickens, and i'm sitting here less than surprised about this whole thing. do i believe it? do i dare not to when there currently exists a regime that refuses to substantially refute assertions like this? do you think that this administration will go down as the worst ever in history? honestly, i'm flabbergasted. he's so far from 'the buck stops with me' president he can't see its anus. i only hope this motivates people to snap out of their apathy and vote down the lot of them.

taking it all into account, not just iraq, it's simply overwhelming to believe that the bush administration would do everything in its power to do everything wrong. iraq, foreign sentiment and relations, goading the economy, worker income, women rights, the judicial system, the nepotism, the list goes on and on. was the motivation to sway american sentiment away from the self-interested domestic policy with ye ole flag waving war? and now how does he account for pissing off those spooks he was attempting to mass an army of? where is his big brother plans going to go now? what drives a man so hell bend on destroying his own nation and how did he gain the support of his peers to even get the republican nomination for president?

i tell you, i'm fairly worried that the elections coming up will be rigged. and if the president gets re-elected honestly, then there's just no hope for the american people.
posted by eatdonuts at 6:36 AM on July 15, 2003


SELECTIVE INTELLIGENCE
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
The New Yorker, May 12, 2003

They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal—a small cluster of policy advisers and analysts now based in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. In the past year, according to former and present Bush Administration officials, their operation, which was conceived by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, has brought about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community. These advisers and analysts, who began their work in the days after September 11, 2001, have produced a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq. They relied on data gathered by other intelligence agencies and also on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress, or I.N.C., the exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi. By last fall, the operation rivalled both the C.I.A. and the Pentagon’s own Defense Intelligence Agency, the D.I.A., as President Bush’s main source of intelligence regarding Iraq’s possible possession of weapons of mass destruction and connection with Al Qaeda
posted by matteo at 6:50 AM on July 15, 2003


i'm fairly worried that the elections coming up will be rigged

What makes you think this hasn't happened already?
posted by walrus at 6:54 AM on July 15, 2003


Might as well post to say thanks to Troutfishing for his good work on this and other threads--before the DOATB (defenders of all things Bush) crowd shows up and draws the discussion into personal attacks and straw men.

This whole business is worse than Watergate, but the dynamics appear to be rather different. When Watergate broke, obviously, there was no Net. Nixon was just in the process of crushing McGovern. With these two factors together, the gestation of the scandal was much slower. On the other hand, there were still *some* honest and principled Republicans who had not been corrupted by the desire to win at all costs (do we have any now?). And--to be fair--we didn't have any Democrats who had gone along with the burglary out of political expediency (here the analogy goes off-track). So a) I expect this will more intense, owing to the long preparation of Bush lies and suppression of opposition because He's Too Popular To Oppose, b) it will have legs, in part thanks to the net and the hunger of mainstream news media for something to fill air time besides the death of Laci Peterson and infant, along with a sense that Bush is vulnerable--i.e., it makes good drama, c) It may show that a few Dems may have finally gotten spine transplants. Also, d) Republicans may finally have realized that their fortunes for the next decade are not yoked to George W. Bush's--he's likely to sink them for some time if this takes hold. All but the most hard-nosed recognize that if they hanged Bill Clinton by the thumbs for eight little words ("I did not have sex with that woman"), then the proportionate response for Bush's 16+, on a far more serious topic (unless you're Rick "Man On Dog" Santorum) requires a much more serious examination.

Look for congressional investigation early on, coinciding with expanded 9/11 investigation, culminating about next March.
posted by palancik at 7:05 AM on July 15, 2003


"i'm fairly worried that the elections coming up will be rigged"

I'm fairly certain they will be.
Just like last time.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:13 AM on July 15, 2003


An editorial from the most recent US Army Times begins thus:

In recent months, President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress have missed no opportunity to heap richly deserved praise on the military. But talk is cheap — and getting cheaper by the day, judging from the nickel-and-dime treatment the troops are getting lately.

For example, the White House griped that various pay-and-benefits incentives added to the 2004 defense budget by Congress are wasteful and unnecessary — including a modest proposal to double the $6,000 gratuity paid to families of troops who die on active duty. This comes at a time when Americans continue to die in Iraq at a rate of about one a day.

Similarly, the administration announced that on Oct. 1 it wants to roll back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay (from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to $100) for troops getting shot at in combat zones.
...

Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, who notes that the House passed a resolution in March pledging “unequivocal support” to service members and their families, puts it this way: “American military men and women don’t deserve to be saluted with our words and insulted by our actions.”

Translation: Money talks — and we all know what walks.


The implication, clearly, is that bullshit walks. Hmmm, where have we seen any bullshit? So the adminstration has thoroughly alienated both the Intelligence and Military establishments, and I would assume that he has yet to be forgiven for backstabbing State and our diplomats and foreign servants. I'm just so happy that Congress, in Oct. '01 with PATRIOT and in Oct. '02 with the "Declare War whenever the hell you want to" resolution, has decided that their jobs are just too hard and that monarchy is fuckin' sweet.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 7:39 AM on July 15, 2003


I'm just hoping they don't start a freakin' war here in Korea to distract everyone from their problems at home and in Iraq.

*looks over his shoulder*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:44 AM on July 15, 2003


It just shows how out of whack BushCo is when the CIA starts sounding reasonable.
posted by billder at 7:47 AM on July 15, 2003


Good thing you're gettin' out, stav. (How's the beach plan coming?)
posted by languagehat at 7:51 AM on July 15, 2003


Stavros: Duck and cover.
posted by Holden at 7:51 AM on July 15, 2003


a witch!

may we burn her??
posted by shadow45 at 8:07 AM on July 15, 2003


I have trouble coping with the idea that, armed with this knowledge, the U.S. populace could let the Bush regime stay in power. Unfortunately for me, I'm Canadian (with an American refugee partner) and am left to sit across the border, staring at the unfolding trainwreck with my mouth agape.

My question to the Americans in the thread is: what are you doing to stop this? I don't mean that in a snide way - I'm honestly interested. Are you - personally - doing anything? If so, what? What 'vectors' are you targeting to try to influence the political process? What messages are you sending? If you're not doing anything, why not? Is there fear involved? Despair? Trust in the electoral process? Trust that there will be inquiries and that public outrage will be channeled into political change that way? My sense right now is that this is too big, too important, to await the next election.
posted by stonerose at 8:19 AM on July 15, 2003


[this is good]
posted by crunchland at 8:24 AM on July 15, 2003


Coming in from left field on this one: there may be more to this than meets the eye.
The US intelligence community has been openly thumbing its nose at the rest of the government, especially Congress and the presidency, for a long time now. There are several senators, from both parties, who would relish them getting their arrogant clocks cleaned.
Now this covers the gamut, from their very origins in poorly crafted enabling legislation that let them get on this path in the first place, to *enormous* black budgets developed over the course of years and spent on unapproved surreptitious projects.
An example of the former was the founding of the NSA, by presidential *memo*, and Congress allowing them to operate with virtually NO oversight. An example of the latter (the NSA again, or was it the NRO?), was the building of an entire satellite tracking facility out of a black budget *neglecting* to even mention it to congress.
The Senate Intelligence Committee was livid. The response by the spooks? "Big deal, so sue us", or words to that effect.

It is not wise to blow off senators like that.

Now, if push came to shove and Congress and the President (whoever is in charge) decided to knock them down a few pegs, it would have to be in a peculiar circumstance--one where Congress would act and act quickly to first do a major reorganization of personnel (the Homeland Security Act?); then a public humiliation of not just the CIA, but ALL the US intelligence services, giving Congress the green light to do a bottom-to-top of the entire community.
posted by kablam at 8:27 AM on July 15, 2003


"My question to the Americans in the thread is: what are you doing to stop this?"
The same thing you are
posted by Outlawyr at 8:27 AM on July 15, 2003


How can he pawn this off on the CIA? On the White House website, it sure looks like Bush was actively involved in writing his speech and reviewing all the details - check out these photos of him hard at work writing the speech.

This might have been posted previously, but it's a good overview of deceptive practices used in The Selling of the War from The New Republic.

troutfishing, kudos to you for all the good info and links you've been posting. Thanks!
posted by madamjujujive at 8:39 AM on July 15, 2003


Can we please impeach Bush now?
posted by azazello at 9:03 AM on July 15, 2003


Bush sems to be increasingly losing the plot,if this report is anything to go by:
Bush said the CIA's doubts about the charge -- that Iraq sought to buy "yellowcake" uranium ore in Africa -- were "subsequent" to the Jan. 28 State of the Union speech in which Bush made the allegation. Defending the broader decision to go to war with Iraq, the president said the decision was made after he gave Saddam Hussein "a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."
Huh? WTF George?
posted by dash_slot- at 9:09 AM on July 15, 2003


Wapo free reg may be req.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:10 AM on July 15, 2003


Honestly, what can we do? Complain to our politicians?

Not trying to be a jerk. But honestly, is there anything the american people can do at this point?
posted by Yossarian at 9:15 AM on July 15, 2003


The president's assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring: Hussein had, in fact, admitted the inspectors and Bush had opposed extending their work because he did not believe them effective.

"Now there are some who would like to rewrite history; revisionist historians is what I like to call them."
posted by Dean King at 9:19 AM on July 15, 2003


From the WaPo piece: Since last Monday, the administration has offered changing explanations for that statement.

The dog ate it.
My sister spilled chocolate milk on it.
I am not a crook.
Father, I cannot tell a lie: The CIA/French/Bill Clinton chopped down the cherry tree.

Like JoKeefe, I too am running on fumes today. This and the N. Korea thread are some scary crap to be reading in that state of mind.

And I never, ever, ever thought I'd say this, but:
GO CIA!
posted by NorthernLite at 9:22 AM on July 15, 2003


But honestly, is there anything the american people can do at this point?

Convince the other half of "the american people"?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:22 AM on July 15, 2003


Is this the same CIA and intelligence community that failed to catch the various warning signs and alarm bells fortelling a massive terrorist strike on the US mainland?
posted by PenDevil at 9:27 AM on July 15, 2003


A clarification: the VIPS memo reprinted in troutfishing's final link doesn't contain any suggestion that I could find that Cheney resign. It's dated May 1. Clearly, it's not the same letter that Kristoff was referring to in the first link (dated July 15), but the one he refers to in the second (from May 30?).

I found what appears to be the more recent letter from VIPS to the president at Counterpunch, for those who are interested.
posted by nickmark at 9:30 AM on July 15, 2003


I'm seriously considering stealing this phrase, plopping down $200 bucks for some bumper stickers, and mailing them to anybody that requests them (via a webpage). hopefully if they request more than one, they'll promise to send back a pic of the sticker in action that can posted on the site.

any reason this is a stupid idea?
posted by danOstuporStar at 9:32 AM on July 15, 2003


Thanks, nickmark.

Gee, troutfishing, I guess you're only batting .999. Kudos for the great info. here and elsewhere. All hail troutfishing!
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:34 AM on July 15, 2003


Stavros, another good post further down deals with the N. Korean question. stronger policies with no diplomacy can set the world afire pretty fast. How long to elections? Is there still time?
posted by acrobat at 9:35 AM on July 15, 2003


Armitage Shanks: Thanx. But seriously what can we do? People have been trying to convince the other half since the beginning of a two party system.
posted by Yossarian at 9:35 AM on July 15, 2003


Father, I cannot tell a lie: The CIA/French/Bill Clinton chopped down the cherry tree.

It's funny, but I have a feeling that someone, somewhere, will eventually try to peg this on Bill Clinton.

Call me a cynic.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:35 AM on July 15, 2003


Oups, this was meant to be "strongarm" policies.
posted by acrobat at 9:36 AM on July 15, 2003


Father, I cannot tell a lie.

Son, you chopped down the cherry tree, and told me you didn't!
I don't know what you're talking about.

You lied to me about chopping this tree down! This tree right here!
No I didn't. Look at how nice the view is now.

I don't care about the view! You lied to me! It's plain as day!
Look, you can see the apple orchard now. Are you seriously saying that's not a better view?

I... you... that's not... I... *sputter*...
posted by soyjoy at 9:37 AM on July 15, 2003


President Bush yesterday defended the "darn good" intelligence...

i'm grateful we have a darn good president.
my retirement savings are growing at a darn good rate.
the war/regime change/nation building in iraq went darn good.

- Stay Tuned For A QTV Special Report -
America: From SuperPower to DarnGoodPower In Just Three Years
posted by quonsar at 9:40 AM on July 15, 2003


My question to the Americans in the thread is: what are you doing to stop this?
1. For the first time, giving money to a presidential campaign (Dean).
2. Making sure my registration to vote here in Palm Beach County, Fla., will still be valid in 2004.
3. Getting ready to take to the streets and engage in violence if my vote is stolen again. Remember that "bourgeois riot" in Miami in 2000? We'll show Republicans what a real riot is.
posted by Holden at 9:45 AM on July 15, 2003




The American public is willing to give a wartime president an incredible amount of leeway, particularly during an amorphous, no-end-in-sight terror "war" like this one. We just don't want to doubt our leaders at times like this, and will goto amazing lengths to avoid facing unpleasant facts that suggest we should.

News like this might edge us toward the leeway limit, but I have a feeling we still have a long way to go. Remember, at least half the people in this country are just fine with the job this guy is doing.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:53 AM on July 15, 2003


Blame it on the French!
posted by muckster at 10:05 AM on July 15, 2003


"...at least half the people in this country are just fine with the job this guy is doing"

Not only that, but a huge portion of them are hanging onto him because of his "Christian values", hoping that he'll be able to appoint some new pro-life justices to the Supreme Court, just like Pat Robertson is praying for. They'd give high approval ratings to the Antichrist if it meant they could overturn Roe v. Wade.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:06 AM on July 15, 2003


nickmark: try here.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:11 AM on July 15, 2003


(screed)

I think I'm beginning to understand how Republicans felt during the Clinton years. I'd always wondered where they got the vituperative, irrational hatred for the man, when he seemed to me to be flawed and corrupt, but basically no better or worse than many other politicians of varying political stripes.

I now feel that way about Dubyuh. I can't evaluate anything the man says objectively or rationally, because I loathe him so much that it taints my every thought.

I know this post will be brandished by some right-wing apologist as proof of the left's irrationality, but so be it. At least I'm admitting to being swayed by emotion, which is more than most of the Clinton-bashers will own up to.

Dubyuh has come to represent everything that I hate about the country that I love: he is uncurious, ill-informed, suspicious of nuance, rigidly ideological, convinced of his superiority despite all evidence to the contrary, and sure that he has God on his side. To oppose his policies is to be un-Amurrican, to question his team's assesment of foreign policy issues is to aid and abet the Enemies of Freedom.

Jeebus help us all.

(/screed before I morph into foldy)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:18 AM on July 15, 2003


Yeah, but at least if you were a girl, dhoyt would marry you.
posted by y2karl at 10:23 AM on July 15, 2003


Is there anything we can do? It will be like turning a battleship - change won't happen quickly, impatient as many of us are. Don't forget, people who have been getting their news from the web and who have been incorporating foreign and alternate media sources have known about much of this for a long time. People who only get news from mainstream media need deprogramming from the steady drip drip drip of sophisticated propaganda that's been building since just post 9/11.

What can we do?
Put pressure on the media. They can and should keep these issues alive. Write and call media encouraging them to be a public watchdog and applaud them for good coverage. Let them know you have expectations and that you are watching their coverage. They have short attention spans and will be distracted by the next story - it's up to their readers and viewers to keep these issues alive. Also, let them know when coverage is NOT ok. Speak out against hate radio and hate TV.

Adopt an opponent. I love heated and strident political arguments, but I am abandoning that in favor of gentle and relentless suasion. I have a half dozen potential "recruits" among family and friends that I am trying to tip. I am sending them articles and trying to leave them lots of room to save face. They united behind their president and now feel betrayed, but view the peace and/or anti-bush crowd with all the negatives that the media and the administration have been heaping on them. Bush persuaded them with daily on-point sound bytes and relentless brainwashing. I am trying to reverse that process with the most likely candidates I know, recognizing that this might need to be done in increments. I have found that sending British news stories is effective - they see Brits as allies, they like Tony Blair, and are surprised and unnerved when faced with the British media and public reaction to all of this.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:26 AM on July 15, 2003


very good tips, madamjujujive!

by the way, if anyone needs a little sonic pick-me-up, this Woody Guthrie / Billy Bragg ditty might help - although the punky Mermaid Avenue version is infinitely better. (warning: RealPlayer req'd...sorry)

/derail
posted by stonerose at 10:39 AM on July 15, 2003


Ummm, I hate to bust up the lovefest but, this might be of interest:

About Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

The only people identified in Mr Kristof's screed is the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). If you read the article linked in this comment, you will see that they are not exactly a non-agenda driven group. They have an axe to grind. They are NOT a creditable source.

Now maybe if Mr Kristof could come up with some sources and quotes that are not fringe ideologues, he might have a point.

What next? Is ANSWER or WWP going to be a creditable source to quote? I think not.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:52 AM on July 15, 2003


It's been postulated that Deep Throat was Pat Buchanan. He doesn't strike me as the kind of guy lacking an axe to grind, and (if it's true that he was the source) he sure took care of things nicely.
posted by rocketman at 11:00 AM on July 15, 2003


This whole situation upsets me for several reasons:

First, I'm glad Saddam Hussein is gone. Iraq will (hopefully) be better off without him.

Second, in spite of being glad about that, I'm absolutely furious that it took a war based potentially on fabricated intelligence to make it happen.

Third, Bill Clinton sat by and did nothing while genocide occurred in Rwanda. Was that inaction worse than this war, which had a possibly noble premise, but dishonest intelligence justifying it?

Fourth, I like Clinton a lot more than I do Bush. If the Rwanda situation is worse than the Iraq situation, how do I reconcile that?
posted by rocketman at 11:07 AM on July 15, 2003


view the peace and/or anti-bush crowd with all the negatives that the media and the administration have been heaping on them

While it's true that former Bush supporters are loath to unite with the antiwar crowd, I think it's more because of the negatives that they've brought on themselves - aligning with groups like ANSWER, calling everyone who doesn't agree with them a mindless sheep, turning every antiwar rally into a platform for fifteen other unrelated causes. The same people who bristle at "Why do they hate us?" may be a lot more receptive to "Why did our government lie to us?"

There was an article in Salon recently about the debate between Democrats who think that attacking Bush is the best strategy and those who think it will turn people off. Attacking Bush the way it's been done so far will turn people off. But on a visit home recently, watching formerly staunch Bush supporters in my family seriously question Bush's tax policies and role in the Iraq war convinced me that there's a real opening for a Democrat who can be confrontational in a smart and non-hysterical way.
posted by transona5 at 11:13 AM on July 15, 2003




Steve, it's an interesting post, but it's terribly partisan as well, and engages in a lot of well-poisoning and ad hominem slurs. And yet it itself concludes with:

None of this proves that VIPS is evil, or even wrong.

However, it's a good post and I'm glad you made it. But do consider the following: 1) being partisan does not make someone factually wrong, and 2) it may be a cart-before-the-horse issue: a person may take sides based on the facts, rather than choose their facts based on the side they're on. Hell, I wish we all would do that.

And finally, even if you can discredit a drop in the ocean, you've still got the rest of the ocean to contend with.

Now maybe if Mr Kristof could come up with some sources and quotes that are not fringe ideologues, he might have a point.

He devotes only one-half of a paragraph to VIPS and their open letter.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:18 AM on July 15, 2003


I was curious what the truly conservative press is doing today. They are splitting hairs in a most Clintonian manner. (i.e., repeating Rice's point: Well gee, what he said was technically accurate... even though it was about intelligence that was proven false months before the SOTU...)
posted by micropublishery at 11:19 AM on July 15, 2003


>The outrage among the intelligence professionals is so widespread that they have formed a group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, that wrote to President Bush this month to protest what it called "a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions."

Of course they have an anti-Bush act to grind, they formed in reaction to Bush's policies. Does this make them less credible? I don't think so.

>Is ANSWER or WWP going to be a creditable source to quote?

BrokenRecordFilter.

As far as doing anything, well there's always letters to your congressperson and senators. Moveon is almost at 350,000 signatures for their distortion of evidence petition. There was an amusing photo in the press a while ago regarding their last petition. Evidently, they print these things out and hand them over to someone in congress in a giant four foot tall stack.
posted by skallas at 11:20 AM on July 15, 2003


Steve@, I'm fascinated by the idea that a group of people, certified (as individuals) by the U.S. intelligence apparatus as experts in that field, is less credible because that group holds strong political beliefs and associates with politically like-minded organizations and individuals in order to disseminate a message that pertains to its field of expertise. Political action in Linnwood-land must be strangely neutered.

Rocketman, both situations are unforgivable. But in this case, I don't think it's really productive to assess which is worse, or who you like/hate more. The question is, given what's happening now, what do we/you do?
posted by stonerose at 11:20 AM on July 15, 2003


transona5: Yes, there is an opening. My family had a friend over on Memorial Day, a lifelong Republican in his 90s... and an amazing man. It was fascinating to hear him talk about Bush. He said he is very disappointed in the current administration. He's seemed like he was as embarrassed as the Dixie Chicks at how little Bush knows or cares about world history, economics, international affairs, etc.

We all knew there was a huge difference between Reagan Republicans and traditional Republicans. It's frightening now to think that there's such an equally large difference between Reaganites and whatever this new plutocratic Christian wing of the party is! I guess this is the Terminator 3 generation of Republicans...

Folks, are we not looking at high treason here?
posted by micropublishery at 11:27 AM on July 15, 2003


He devotes only one-half of a paragraph to VIPS and their open letter.

Correct. He also cites no other source.

...because that group holds strong political beliefs and associates with politically like-minded organizations and individuals...

Yes, when those "strong political beliefs" and "politically like-minded organizations" are on the extreme fringe.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:31 AM on July 15, 2003


I'm on my way out to my pickup truck to pry up my American flag sticker and reapply it upside down. (shakes head.)
posted by alumshubby at 11:36 AM on July 15, 2003


Yes, when those "strong political beliefs" and "politically like-minded organizations" are on the extreme fringe.

Well, they may be disgruntled, and not like Bush very much, but that seems to put them pretty much smack dab in the middle. After all, notice that public opinion is changing rapidly and that Bush has lost 9 points in 18 days.

Extreme fringe? Kettle, pot, blackness....
posted by bshort at 11:40 AM on July 15, 2003


Correct. He also cites no other source.

I don't see how you can say that. To the extent that he "cites" it at all (he mainly just refers to its existence and summarizes its conclusion), he does much the same with a number of other things: "The latest issue of the Naval War College Review", is referenced and he quotes the author, he also cites Patrick Lang, "a former senior D.I.A. official". He is more vague in many attributions, but this is hardly unusual for an op-ed piece.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:46 AM on July 15, 2003


Yes, when those "strong political beliefs" and "politically like-minded organizations" are on the extreme fringe.

You'd better watch out, Steve, because that fringe is expanding. More and more of the political fabric of your country is on the fringe now - the stable center comprises less of the political spectrum than it did in the Clinton era. And you have Bush to thank for that. His policies and methods have caused this unravelling - this, not arbitrary partisanship - is why so many marines, diplomats, and spies are hewing left toward the long-time dissenters. It turns out that Bush isn't such a skilled 'uniter' after all.
posted by stonerose at 11:47 AM on July 15, 2003


My question to the Americans in the thread is: what are you doing to stop this?

Absolutely everything I can that will make any difference at all.

In other words, nothing whatever, since I don't have millions of dollars to do it with.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:56 AM on July 15, 2003


I believe that if I can persuade my uncle, a Vietnam veteran and die-hard Republican, who bristles at the thought that a president would lie to start a war, if I can persuade him that perhaps he has been lied to, then there is still hope.

Because I believe that if one mountain can be moved, others will follow.
posted by rocketman at 12:00 PM on July 15, 2003


Steve-
Comparing VIPS to ANSWER is a stretch. Yeah, they have an "agenda," but so does anyone who doesn't have bumer sticker on their car that reads: "capital punishment is a complicated issue." Biased, maybe, but definitely not partisan. Joseph Wilson was a trusted servant to the first President Bush, and Brent Scowcroft (who is not in VIPS but is a trusted associate) is in the Bush administration right now!

There "agenda" is to redress what they see as abuse of their community by the executive branch, and it was certainly non-existant before the alleged abuse occured. One could easilly see them as countering an angenda that would relegate them to the role of political yes-men, instead of allowing them to do their jobs.

Yes, when those "strong political beliefs" and "politically like-minded organizations" are on the extreme fringe.

Not that you ascribe them any cred., but VIPS would see the "fringe" as being elsewhere: like underneath the feet of a president who shows callous disregard for the independence and integrity of the CIA, DIA, and State Intell.

on preview:
Word, rocketman. I use my dad (a Goldwater Republican)as my little test case, and he is coming around, too.

Thanks, madame. You have long been a voice fo reason and a major asset to MeFi.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:11 PM on July 15, 2003


More and more of the political fabric of your country is on the fringe now - the stable center comprises less of the political spectrum than it did in the Clinton era. And you have Bush to thank for that. His policies and methods have caused this unravelling - this, not arbitrary partisanship - is why so many marines, diplomats, and spies are hewing left toward the long-time dissenters.

Ha... Where were you living between 1993 and 2000?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:12 PM on July 15, 2003


I believe the topic at hand is the potential manipulation of intelligence by the executive branch, not where we were living between 1993 and 2000.

You may have mistaken this thread for one of Miguel's a couple of days back.
posted by rocketman at 12:17 PM on July 15, 2003


Ha... Where were you living between 1993 and 2000?

In a prosperous country that was largely at peace.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:23 PM on July 15, 2003


Well said, George_Spiggott.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:35 PM on July 15, 2003


Ha... Where were you living between 1993 and 2000?

In a country that was in the middle of an unprecedented bull market, with low unemployment and a budget surplus.

In a country where I could get a good job, and not have to worry about which sovereign nations we're about to invade next.

And on the whole agenda thing Steve, everyone has one. You've got an agenda, I have an agenda, and I'm sure VIPS does too. That's all politics is - it's elected officials professionally trying to further the agenda of the citizens that elected them.

That agenda-bullshit is the same thing Bill O'Reilly pulls when he's trying to discredit someone simply for thinking differently, or speaking out. They're ideologues, or they're pushing a "liberal" agenda. Nothing but buzzwords, with doublespeak to back them up. And if you think VIPS is on the fringe, *phew*, you should come to some of the Students for Social Change (affectionately know as the "Commie Club") meetings I go to.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:49 PM on July 15, 2003


Where do I get the "Regime Change Starts at Home" bumper stickers?
posted by joquarky at 12:51 PM on July 15, 2003


Ha... Where were you living between 1993 and 2000?

In a land with a budget surplus, not an unprecedented $450+ billion debt.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:00 PM on July 15, 2003


joquarky, this and this might have what you're looking for.
posted by stonerose at 1:23 PM on July 15, 2003


joquarky, you can get them right here.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:23 PM on July 15, 2003


In a prosperous country that was largely at peace.

Seems to me, that we were not "largely at peace" We just had a driver asleep at the wheel: In a country that was in the middle of an unprecedented bull market, with low unemployment and a budget surplus...

You may think it is clever and cute to change the subject from what stonerose was talking about (center of political gravity in the US, partisanship, and the country's shift mood) to economics, but it does no service to prove your point.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:25 PM on July 15, 2003


And:

If you want to give Mr. Clinton full credit for the economic boom that happened under him, lets also remember to give him credit for the rescission that started under his leadership in his last year in office, as well.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:29 PM on July 15, 2003


We just had a driver asleep at the wheel:

And after all that, what's Bush's excuse again? Oh, it must have been those stolen W keys on the keyboards; it prevented the White house from being able to handle email about the World Trade Center.

Note in particular:
As warnings of a major terrorist operation against the United States poured in last summer, we know that George Tenet kept warning everyone who would listen.
The administration is only too happy to frame Tenet for their use of bogus intelligence, but where were they when he was trying to prevent all this in the first place?

So don't talk crap about Clinton being asleep at the wheel. As far as what use Bush actually makes of intelligence, Scott Rosenberg nails it here.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:40 PM on July 15, 2003


You may think it is clever and cute to change the subject from what stonerose was talking about (center of political gravity in the US, partisanship, and the country's shift mood) to economics, but it does no service to prove your point.

I was merely responding to your flippant "what country were you in" remark with something as equally flippant.

Clinton was elected in 1992, and re-elected in 1996 because of centrist swing voters. It's traditionally very hard to beat a wartime president, and Bush Sr was supposed to be no exception. But the fact was that the economy was in the can, and the swing voters cared a lot more about the economy that Bush Sr had planned on.

But now, in 2004, the country is polarized probably more than ever been, maybe since the mid 60s, maybe back even further. What (I think) Stonerose is saying, is that there's not a lot of middle ground. People in this country either loathe Bush, or they really, really like him. Even when Clinton was re-elected in '96, there was still a good amount of undecided swing voters.

If you want to give Mr. Clinton full credit for the economic boom that happened under him, lets also remember to give him credit for the rescission that started under his leadership in his last year in office, as well.

I give most of the credit to Greenspan, but Clinton's economic policies didn't hurt. But the rescission had a lot more to do with overvalued technology stocks finally starting to deflate, and overzealous personal and business investors panicking and deflating the values even more, than it has to do with any of Clinton's policies.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:44 PM on July 15, 2003


If you want to give Mr. Clinton full credit for the economic boom

No, I said the country was prosperous. Prosperity is America's natural state, or it should be. I don't credit Clinton with making America great, it just is, if you let it. I blame Bush for fucking it up with both hands.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:00 PM on July 15, 2003


I blame Bush for fucking it up with both hands.

Hear hear. I mean really, what's so hard about promoting responsible economic policies? Run a mild government surplus to pay down the national debt, tax the rich in a moderate way, keep inflation low... That's really all you have to do.

Granting enormous tax breaks to the rich (who are just going to stick the money in an investment instrument, and who aren't going to spend it) while simultaneously driving up government spending results in the rest of us being in debt for the next generation (at least).

Its taking money from our children, and forcing them to pay the interest on it.
posted by bshort at 2:50 PM on July 15, 2003


Bushies fanned out to the weekend talk shows to note, as if with one voice, that what Bush said was technically accurate. But it was not accurate, even technically. The words in question were: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Bush didn't say it was true, you see—he just said the Brits said it. This is a contemptible argument in any event. But to descend to the administration's level of nitpickery, the argument simply doesn't work. Bush didn't say that the Brits "said" this Africa business—he said they "learned" it. The difference between "said" and "learned" is that "learned" clearly means there is some pre-existing basis for believing whatever it is, apart from the fact that someone said it. Is it theoretically possible to "learn" something that is not true? I'm not sure (as Donald Rumsfeld would say). However, it certainly is not possible to say that someone has "learned" a piece of information without clearly intending to imply that you, the speaker, wish the listener to accept it as true. Bush expressed no skepticism or doubt, even though the Brits qualification was only added as protection because doubts had been expressed internally.
Gee, so I'm not the only person to understand that...
posted by NortonDC at 3:27 PM on July 15, 2003


~guffaw~

The simple and earthy word "shit" pretty much completely summarizes what we're hearing from Bush and his panicky supporters regarding this whole Iraq war fiasco. Reading the dumb, irrelevant, completely meaningless obfuscations from Bush ideologues in this thread ("Clinton is bad" -- and did you know he gave us a "rescission"?) is just more of the same nonresponsive, mindless fusillade of fudge we're getting from the head Bushitter himself.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:45 PM on July 15, 2003


alright fold_and_mutilate, I agree totally. but you're preaching to the choir here ('cept for Steve@). So... how do we get out of this mess? what are you personally planning on doing? what should the rest of us do, apart from posting the same old same old?
posted by stonerose at 4:05 PM on July 15, 2003


stonerose,

I agree with your stance here wholeheartedly. I think we've all vented about this topic as much as it can possibly be constructive to do so. Many of us have already taken our sides and are willing to fight for them to the bitter end and so be it. What we need now is some plan that could possibly help us to structure a defense against not only the blatant corruption of our current administration, but that which is running so rampantly through all of government.

So as a pat on the back to myself, yes, I am working on something. Hopefully in a few months I can show rather than tell.
posted by velacroix at 4:29 PM on July 15, 2003


me, I'll post pictures.


posted by muckster at 4:48 PM on July 15, 2003


If you want to give Mr. Clinton full credit for the economic boom

fact is, Clinton was much more fiscally conservative than Bush II (who also has a weakness for corporate welfare and tariffs, more than enough to make a serious, decent Eisenhower Republican look for a centrist Democrat, or another non-Bushite Republican, to vote for in 2004).
it's the difference between a surplus and history's largest deficit, it's a number. you can't spin numbers


Yes, when those "strong political beliefs" and "politically like-minded organizations" are on the extreme fringe.

because of course the Clinton lynch mob -- talk radio cavemen and congressmen alike -- were not on the "extreme fringe" but were centrist, tolerant Americans acting with Vedic calm right?

it's also interesting that people here have been posting tons of good links about a huge, huge, huge deficit, doctored intelligence reports, skyrocketing war costs, the realistic chance of 4 or 5 more years of underpaid and overworked soldiers stuck in Iraq waiting to be shot at as their commander in chief happily shouts "BRING THEM ON" for the cameras, and Steve the best you can do is attack that Veteran group?

I can understand that the typical US right-wing instinct is to claim to be besieged (when your buddies actually control the Supreme Court, the White House and Congress, too) and blame the liberal media or "quotas". but really, your "Fisk-ing" was pretty lame
posted by matteo at 4:48 PM on July 15, 2003


Given what happened in the last election, our best hope until the next one is that more Republican legislators will break ranks. You can help by writing letters -- yeah, it feels like shouting down a well, but the rule of thumb is that one letter is worth 100 petition signatures -- demanding some real investigation, not just into this, but into 9/11 intelligence "failures" (in quotes because they didn't fail Bush) Enron and energy policy, that sort of thing. I can't believe that more Republicans of conscience (no, that's not quite an oxymoron) haven't figured out that the interests of this country are not aligned with the interests of the Bush administration.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:53 PM on July 15, 2003


George-
I think that many have, and as the election draws closer, more will. One could say that, at this point, there are as many prominent Repbulicans challenging Bush as Democrats: Buchannon, McCain, John Dean, Ron Paul, and let's not forget that while intelligence and military professionals are supposed to be apolitical, many members of VIPS have far richer career histories working for Elephants than Donkeys (though they kind of tend to work for whoever the Pres. is, so that isn't exactly their doing).

The more important indicator is among those institutions which are distinctly non-partisan. The first of these that comes to mind is the military establishment, and their membership in the W/Pre-emption fan club has recently expired with no sign of a renewal notice.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:44 PM on July 15, 2003


Well if we're posting pictures I found this one to be very depressing.


posted by skallas at 6:41 PM on July 15, 2003


I blame the French.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:32 PM on July 15, 2003





posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:55 PM on July 15, 2003


homunculus' post made me drink the wine... monju_bosatsu's post made me spray it out.
posted by stonerose at 8:01 PM on July 15, 2003


You almost hate to tell him that the elephants in that picture are gay.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:34 PM on July 15, 2003


Can we photoshop GW Bush's head onto that fornicating elephant's body?

Steve_Linnwood - About your "They have an axe to grind. They are not a credible source." comment on VIPS, the group, composed of former intelligence professionals which is calling for Dick Cheney to resign - Well, take one member, Ray McGovern: "Former CIA official, Ray McGovern, has leveled serious accusations at the Bush administration in connection with the war in Iraq. McGovern served as a CIA analyst for almost 30 years. From 1981 to 1985 he conducted daily briefings for Ronald Reagan's vice president, George Bush, the father of the incumbent president."

Here's a recent interview with McGovern
posted by troutfishing at 9:25 PM on July 15, 2003


Can we photoshop GW Bush's head onto that fornicating elephant's body?

Okay, but first we need to know whether he's a top elephant or a bottom elephant. Thanks to the Supreme Court, he can be either... and President, to boot!

troutfishing, thank you for a truly important thread.
posted by stonerose at 9:53 PM on July 15, 2003



posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:58 PM on July 15, 2003


One interesting outcome of this will be that Condoleeza Rice's career in elective office ends before it ever begins.
posted by y2karl at 11:41 PM on July 15, 2003


In recent days, as the Bush administration has defended its assertion in the president's State of the Union address that Iraq had tried to buy African uranium, officials have said it was only one bit of intelligence that indicated former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program.

But a review of speeches and reports, plus interviews with present and former administration officials and intelligence analysts, suggests that between Oct. 7, when President Bush made a speech laying out the case for military action against Hussein, and Jan. 28, when he gave his State of the Union address, almost all the other evidence had either been undercut or disproved by U.N. inspectors in Iraq.

posted by y2karl at 11:57 PM on July 15, 2003


mr_crash_davis is my hero.
posted by jpoulos at 7:37 AM on July 16, 2003


And my anti-drug.
posted by walrus at 7:41 AM on July 16, 2003


Log-cabin style!
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:12 AM on July 16, 2003


Ok, but be aware that latex glazes set quickly.
posted by walrus at 8:24 AM on July 16, 2003


stonerose - thanks.

mr_crash_davis - No no! That's the Log Cabin Republican logo! - I wanted GW Bush's head on the elephant. And then again, maybe the bottom animal should be a donkey? No - that bottom animal should be an outline of the continental US, with legs (and filled in red white and blue). The top animal should be an elephant with GW Bush's head - and with a few small extra heads too, sprouting on tentacular skinny necks, with the names "Enron", "Tyco", "WorldCom, Halliburton"......."
posted by troutfishing at 8:30 AM on July 16, 2003


But your elephants were nice anyway.
posted by troutfishing at 8:32 AM on July 16, 2003


Have you been reading the book of Revelation, troutfishing?
posted by walrus at 9:13 AM on July 16, 2003


You know you could build a caption contest around monju_bosatsu's picture:

A friend's was... I can't watch...I hope Laura is taking notes...

Variations of the saw about sausage and legislation being two things you should never watch being made come to mind--but nothing worth sharing thus far.
posted by y2karl at 11:20 AM on July 16, 2003


Walrus - I haven't read Revelations in several years, and yet that imagery burst into my mind, unbidden, like a bad Terry Gilliam cartoon.

Is GW Bush "The beast"?

[ This is the 3rd time I've posted this comment tonight, only to see it's been somehow erased, and I rather doubt that's matt's doing.........drum roll, please ]

* Boom boom boom boom boom.....


Dah...dah...dah....da da!!

boom, boom, boom boom .......
posted by troutfishing at 9:58 PM on July 16, 2003


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